The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CLSJ) embodies the fight for equitable political, social, racial and economic rights embedded in Medgar Evers College’s DNA. For more than 35 years, CLSJ has provided quality legal advocacy, conducted community education campaigns, facilitated research and built community organizing capacity on behalf of Black New Yorkers and the disenfranchised. Despite emboldened hostile forces, CLSJ continues to build an engaged and civically educated Black electorate that increasingly uses political power to marshal the resources and representation needed for its communities to thrive. This giving season we ask you to support CLSJ’s Advocacy Academy, an intensive 11-week program that trains participants to create and implement the programs and services they want to see in their communities.
Consistent with our history, the CLSJ Advocacy Academy imparts students with the information and skills needed to build and strengthen communities of color. For the past four Census cycles, CLSJ has worked tirelessly to inform New Yorkers about the importance of the census and to assist them in filing. When political districts were being redrawn, CLSJ worked with partners to educate the public about how political boundaries are defined and why the process matters. This election season, a team of CLSJ-trained students is fanning out across the boroughs, informing the public about the racial justice initiatives that appear on the ballot and encouraging voters to participate.
The Advocacy Academy is a recurring civic engagement program in which 25 to 30 participants are trained in issue organizing, community-driven lobbying, roles and duties of elected officials and government agencies, budgeting and proposal writing, and fundraising to support the creation of needed programs and services. Among other instructional tools, this program uses social media, webinars, white papers and in person meetings to educate Black New Yorkers about local governance systems. When participants complete the program, they join the growing cadre of Advocacy Academy graduates, mentoring each other and sharing their triumphs and challenges online and in-person at regularly scheduled events arranged exclusively for them.
This work is the essence of CLSJ: we provide culturally responsive civic information to equip New Yorkers of African descent with the tools to build their communities and the organizing space in which to learn, plan and share. Please support this program with a generous gift; every donation will be deeply appreciated.